Butler Bulldogs versus North Carolina Tar Heels March Madness betting preview
Date: Friday, 24th March
Place: FedEx Forum – Memphis, TN
March Madness Odds:
Butler +7½ (-110) 153 (-110) +270
North Carolina -7½ (-110) 153 (-110) -330
How They Got Here
UNC defeated Arkansas in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday to reach the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. Kennedy Meeks had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Justin Jackson added 15 points and eight rebounds, and Joel Berry II scored 10 points. The Heels blew a 17-point lead in the first half, but Meeks made a providential tip-in by with 44.2 seconds left and that was all she wrote. The Bulldogs made short work of Middle Tennessee 74-65 on Saturday to return to the Sweet 16 after a five years’ absence. Andrew Chrabascz had 15 points and Kamar Baldwin 13, while Kelan Martin added 19 points, six rebounds, and four assists off the bench.
Butler leads the all-time series against UNC 3-2. The Bulldogs won 74-66 in 2014 and 82-71 in 2012, with both games being played on a neutral court. Butler and North Carolina encountered each other for the first time on January 1, 1929 when the Bulldogs took the win 43-20. Much later on they had a home-and-home series in 1992-93 and 1993-94, in which the Heels went 2-0. Butler coach Chris Holtmann is 1-1 against UNC, which includes a loss during Holtmann’s sting as the Gardner–Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs coach. According to March madness odds, UNC should even the series on Friday.
Players to Watch
The Tar Heels used to be Joel Berry’s team, but now North Carolina is Justin Jackson’s yard. The junior forward is averaging 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists during March is a co-favourite to win the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award. Butler’s Avery Woodson has emerged as a sudden threat from the three-point line, going 8 for 14 in March.
March Madness Betting Trends
Butler is 7-1 ATS in their last eight games as underdogs. More like under-bulldogs. Bull-under-dogs? Butler’s overall record this season is 25-8 which is necessarily good news considering that the Heels are 16-4 straight-up in the last 20 games against teams with a winning record.
What to Expect
It is actually difficult to tell which North Carolina to expect. Will it be the UNC that beat the lining tar out of Texas Southern (those Heels do need Tar after all)? Or will it be the UNC hardly managed to put Arkansas away? Stay tuned to find out.
This Just In
“In the NCAA tournament, you know once you get to the second weekend, you’re going to have to play against great teams,” point guard Tyler Lewis told the Indy Star. And now they’re going against one of the all-time greats. UNC is tied with Indiana and Duke for third most NCAA titles.
The Heels are the march madness betting title to win the NCAA championship, and as such the March madness odds favour them to beat Butler. If they do, they would face either UCLA or Kentucky.